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Veritas


Felonius
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Being somewhat of a wine fanatic, Veritas has always been on my must-try list of NY restaurants. The other night, I finally ventured forth by myself and had dinner at their bar. The meal exceeded my high expectations - just great experience overall.

I started with a chilled lobster salad with english peas, herbes fines and a pea puree that had a hint of mint in it - a perfect summer dish and simple enough to let the quality of lobster shine through. The entree was a confit of Alaskan King Salmon with fennel, sweet tomato, artichoke, and nicoise olives. I have never had a piece of salmon more perfectly cooked. Wow was it good! It had a velvety texture and just melted in the mouth. While neither of these dishes had particularly exotic ingredients or the flavor complexity to put them at the pinnacle of NYC dining, the quality of the ingredients and the perfect cooking spoke for themselves. This type of cuisine is also ideal for pairing with wines, which goes along with the concept of the restaurant, of course. The dessert, cherry and almond crepes with marzipan ice cream, was so good I wanted to order another plate.

In my opinion, the food is not quite in the same league as some of my usual favorites (Bouley, Cafe Boulud, DB) in terms of complexity or concept. However, everything was absolutely excellent in terms of flavor, freshness, harmony and execution. I also found it a bit lighter in style, which was especially welcome on a hot summer night.

As for wine, I had a 1/2 bottle of Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 1995. There are very few places one could find a 1/2 bottle of something like a Corton Charlemagne on a list, so that in itself is a tribute to the effort being made at Veritas. It was a lovely wine - all elegance and finesse - with a near perfect balance between fruit and mineral components. On the negative side, it lacked a bit concentration and length when compared to a few top California Chardonnays I've had recently (i.e. Kistler, Peter Michael, and Talley). With dessert I had a glass of Coteaux de Layon, which paired well with the sweet crepes. No doubt, the wine program at Veritas is as good or better than anywhere in NYC, and the prices are fair.

At Veritas, one can order a la carte at the bar rather than paying for the $68 set menu offered in the dining room. I found the food prices ($16 for the appetizer, $28 the entree, $8 the dessert) super reasonable given the quality.

Overall, it was one of the most pleasurable dining experiences I've had all year. I will certainly head back for another meal soon.

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In response to several questions.....

[Thanks Felonious for briging this one to my radar screen. Is it a hard place to book a table?]

This was my first visit and I just called from my cellphone at 7pm - sat down at the bar at 7:15. There were several open seats at the bar when I arrived, and it was full by 8pm. There were 4-5 other people eating at the bar, versus others waiting to be seated in the dining room. I would guess that weeknight seating at the bar for dinner would not be a problem for one or two people. As for dining room reservations, I have no idea.

[by marzipan ice cream, do you mean almond paste ice cream? How would that work - what was the texture like?]

The ice cream was very creamy and dense, almost like a gelato. The flavor was a mixture of almonds and cream - reminiscent in a way of a Good Humor "Toasted Almond Bar". There were also slivers and bits of toasted almonds sprinkled over the ice cream. I thought the whole dessert was excellent.

[if you are comfortable discussing it, very roughly how much was Veritas asking for the Corton Charlemagne 1/2? What were your assessments of the general quality of French wine available in 1/2s?]

The bottle was $85. Not cheap, but a fair price for a grand cru white Burgundy from a decent producer. I haven't seen this wine at retail, but I'd guess a full bottle would go for $100 or more, which would imply the split I bought was marked up between 50-100 percent. That's a bargain in my book, considering the fact that most top restaurants in NYC are now imposing 150-300% markups, and also that a 1/2 bottle of this wine has some additional scarcity value. I didn't see many other 1/2 bottle selections, but check Veritas' on-line list for more info.

As for comparing the Latour Corton-Charmlemagne to the Talley (or any other CA chard for that matter), I admit it's a bit of apples vs. oranges. I tend to prefer white Burgundy to California chardonnay, as I find most of the CA wines over-oaked or manipulated for my taste. I'll take elegance and complexity over extraction and fatness every time. However, a recent tasting of a 1997 Talley "Rosemary's Vineyard" Chardonnay was a rare exception. I found the Talley wine to be beautifully integrated and more Burgundian in style than most CA wines. Talley's winemaker espouses a very natural and non-interventional style of winemaking (natural yeasts where possible, single vineyard lots, etc.) in order to let the terroir show thorugh - and the results speak for themselves in my opinion. Though not as big or complex as the Peter Michael "Cuvee Indigene" or as focused as the Kistler chardonnays I tried last week, I preferred the Talley above all. This surprised me, as I would usually have expected to pick the Corton Charlemagne first, then the Peter Michael, followed by Kistler and Talley. For some reason, the Peter Michael chards remind me a bit of big-styled Corton. The Louis Latour '95 however, was not a particularly big Corton Charlemagne from my experience.

By the way, if someone could explain how to use the "Quote" function when replying on this BB, I would greatly appreciate it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Friday night brought me to one of my favorite restaurants...Veritas, for yet another outstanding dinner. For those who have not eaten here...and love great food and wine...GO! A three course tasting menu is offered at $68. I usually add and extra course (as I did this time).

My wine selection for the evening was a bottle of 1990 Cateau de Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes...a lovely, rich white wine made from 90 year old vines. Veritas is one of the few places this wine can be found...and they had multiple vintages. This particular one was a deep gold color...a big white...rich and fat in the mouth...with caramel after notes...beautiful.

The amuse was a small timabale ofPeeky toe crab with diced tomatoes and fresh corn.

My First course was a Chilled Lobster Salad with sweet English peas, golden pear tomatoes, fines herbs & vieux sherry vinegar. A large claw and tail of perfectly cooked lobster placed beneath the salad mix which was tossed with the vinaigrette. The lobster meat was most likely from a lobster weighing more than 2 1/2 lbs. judging from the size of the portion.

The Second Course was Sauteed Soft Shell Crab with yellow curry sauce and baby pea shoots. I suspect this won't be on the menu much longer as the season is pretty much over. This crab had one very small area of shell that was a tad chewy where it was thickening. The large, juicy crab was placed over the yellow curry sauce, topped with the pea shoots. The curry sauce (more like a foam to me)was extremely mild and a great match for the crab.

For a main course I chose Grilled Sonoma Squab with a fricassee of summer vegetables, glazed baby carrots and foie gras emulsion. The sommelier brought me a glass of LaGrein Alto Adige Magdalena 1999. A "big" red with a hint a herbal tea. The perfect foil for the squab which was prepared medium rare. The plate was napped with the foie emulsion. Vegetables strategically stacked on top to support the fat, juicy squab.

Dessert brought a sampling of creme brulees. Normally I wouldn't order creme brulee, but my waiter and the waitress serving a nearby table raved about them. Flavors were cinnamon, vanilla and carmel. I was not over the moon about this dessert. The flavors were very nice, but the texture was borderline overcooked. I think next time I will do the sorbets or perhaps a scoop of homemade ice cream. This is the only area were Veritas doesn't shine from my perspective. Everything on the savory side I have ever tried has been excellent. The wine service is stellar. Waiters, waitresses and even bussers and hostesses want to make sure you have a wonderful experience...which I obviously did :biggrin: !

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Southern Girl,

All of your reviews from your recent trip to New York have been fabulous. Now for a very unfair question. If you had to rate them in order of preference - Veritas, Jean Georges, Jewel Bako, how would you rank them re wine, service, food, ambience?

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Lizziee,

Wow, that's a tough one...especially because of the presence of Jewel Bako, but I will try.

Food...I think I would have to choose Veritas by a nudge over Jean George and Jewel Bako. Picholine is # 1 in cheese and right in line with Jean George and Jewel Bako. Because of the number of courses involved in the tasting menus it is hard to compare on a one to one basis. But here are some further thoughts. In the Lobster competition...I would choose Veritas' preparation as the best. In the Squab category I would choose Jean George. The amuse also goes to Jean George. Desserts: none of them knocked my socks off. Between the two "soups" Jean George hops ahead with the frog leg accompaniment (you may groan loudly here :rolleyes: )

Wine: Veritas...the list is outstanding with some real gems and steals to be found, the sommeliers knowledge encyclopedic...Picholine follows a close second for selection...Jean George's list was a bit overpriced in many cases, but a nice selection. For sake the clear winner is Jewel Bako :wink: .

Service-Veritas again...everyone really seems to care if you are having a pleasurable experience. It is also hard not to be impressed by Jewel Bako followed by Picholine and Jean George bringing up the rear.

Ambience is hard too because they are all so different. I think this comes down to personal preference. I would have to choose Veritas first though. A very calming atmosphere to me. Jean George would be next for the airiness. Picholine I like for the old world feel once you realize the staff isn't as stiff as the decor. Jewel Bako, I had my back to the room (seated at the corner...got knocked in the head a couple times by people trying to squeeze over on the way to the restroom. Also there was something I almost forgot...the hand sink in the corner of the sushi bar (which was more or less in my line sight) has some awful corrosion around it...I have to admit I was surpised to see that. It must be purely cosmetic and I would think relatively easy to remedy before the next health dept. inspection.

I hate to slight Jewel Bako...for sushi and sashimi it is excellent. It is just hard to compare it to the others from a stylistic viewpoint. I think if I dined there as regularly as I do at Sushisay and Kuruma Zushi (were the chefs know my proclivity to try and like anything and everything) I would have a hard time deciding between the two.

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  • 1 month later...

I have just returned from my supper at Veritas with a dear chum.

I had really been looking forward to going here. Particulalrly since I had looked at the link to their extra ordinary wine list. I had heard mixed things about the food with some people going as far as to say that this was a wine bar that served food, but I was pleasantly surprised with the menu.

I started with a martini, which despite a very specific request was neither dry or cold enough. Drinking luke warm neat gin has not been a habit of mine since I left the clergy and I see no reason to take it up again now.

We were served amuse of a snow crab mayo which was a little bland but very fresh.

Starters were an exemplary seafood salad which again displayed all the hallmarks of very fresh ingredients. My starter was sweetbreads served on shitake with a glaze of 30 yr old balsamic. It was to be perfectly honest very poor. Sweet breads should be ( to my liking anyway ) seared on the outside but rare in the middle. This was not. It was over cooked and tough. A crime to what was otherwise a very good ingredient.

Main courses were a lamb loin with a rosemary crust which was one of the best lamb dishes I have had in the us and a dry aged strip which was cooked properly ( black & blue ) but lacked flavour.

Desserts were marginally interesting. A "12 textures of chocolate" was a mix of torte, sorbet, beignet etc and was fine. A Concorde grape soup with tapioca was nasty in the way that only school food has a right to be.

THe real raison for Veritas is of course the wine list which reads like most people's wank fantasy. I marvelled both at the list and thye prices, but my guest and I decided to try and keep under $150 for a bottle. We ordered ( badly ) a northern spanish Sardon Del Duego ( 1996 ) which, like the English cricket team, opened well and tailed off horribly. At the end it was just like drinking coloured water. Our fault not the restaurant's although I am not sure a wine of this minor level needed decanting.

Service was efficient but perfunctory and a bill with service of $300 ( £220 ) was pretty steep for what was in the end a definingly ordinary meal.

I can see why people go here. The wine list is a miracle and some of the "great" wines seemed to be sold at no mark up at all. For a dining out experience though, it was a grave diappointment

5/10

S

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how does one go about keeping sweet breads rare? They have to be first pouched then cooled and then seared again. Ive never had rare sweet breads. Medium yes never rare. Very interestign though. Im sorry to hear about the food. I was planning on going there one day but to see i cant afford the wine list and if the food isn't really that good. I think im crossign it off my list.

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how does one go about keeping sweet breads rare? They have to be first pouched then cooled and then seared again. Ive never had rare sweet breads. Medium yes never rare. Very interestign though. Im sorry to hear about the food. I was planning on going there one day but to see i cant afford the wine list and if the food isn't really that good. I think im crossign it off my list.

You are right. Maybe rare was the wrong term. The finest sweetbread dish I have ever had was at Foiliage in London where the sweetbread had a crust on the outside but was soft inside in texture. At Veritas, they were tough and chewy which can't be how they were meant to be.

S

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For once I disagree with Yvonne; I think the room at Veritas is very soothing. Simon, your report didn't startle me - I have had good and bad dishes there but cannot fathom why the kitchen has the high reputation it apparently does.

Sweetbreads, however. They can be prepared in a number of different ways, and do not need to be poached. They should be soaked in cold water with a touch of vinegar for an hour or so. One traditional approach, once you have dried and trimmed them, is to squash them under a heavy plate until they are about half an inch thick. Then, sliced and sauteed or grilled, they will indeed be cooked through - though they shouldn't be tough. Alternatively, you can leave them the shape god made them, and sear, sautee or even roast them. This way, you can certainly preserve a rare interior, if that's to your taste.

The real challenge is to get flavors to penetrate that interior. Sweetbreads are very mildly flavored indeed. You can bring out flavor by caramelizing the outside, of course, and add flavor by seasoning and serving with a sauce. Rare sweetbreads (and I am thinking of the larger calf's glands here, rather than lamb's) can be somewhat bland. I ate rare sweetbreads at Jean-Georges which suffered this fault; despite the wonderful flavors of the broth in which they were served, the interiors were flabby and tastless. On the other hand, Cyril Renaud at Fleur de Sel manages to caramelize the outside and cook them just to the point of being done - immaculate timing. His are the best sweetbreads I've eaten in New York.

Simon, sad to say, Fleur de Sel is quite near Veritas and a bit cheaper too.

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My wife and i ate there in July and I have to say, the meal couldn't have been better, other than the wine. Tp start I had the foie gras, which was tremendous with a terriffic sauce (I think all their sauces were superb), and for dinner I had the lamb, my wife had the sirloin. The shell steak was as good as at any steakhouse -- thick, perfectly trimmed, perfectly cooked, with a subtle sauce. My lamb was a combo of loin and chops, and truly wonderful - meaty and gamy, and for once I found the lamb loin flavorful (tasteless lamb loins are a pet peeve of mine - i even had a bad once at Gramercy Tavern once!).

The wine just didn't work out. I don't know too much about wine, but do tend to like Rhones and asked the sommelier to pick out a nice one for us. Unfortunately, it was about 14% alcohol, and ended up a bit strong for food. it would have made a great pre-dinner glass, but it overwhelmed what i eating a bit - even properly rare and gamy lamb!

I agree the room is small, but I did like the intimacy of it. I eat at a lot of big, noisy restaurants for business lunches, so I found it a pleasant change.

All in all, i thought on the basis of food quality it was one of the best meals I've had all year. Cemented what i had heard that the food, while overshadowed by the hype over the wine list, is good enough to stand on its own. Sorry to hear others had bad experiences.

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Best way to handle sweetbreads is braising especially if studded with truffles and tongue. Also like them a la Marechal.These are classic dishes. I won't go to any restaurant having Gray Kunz as the chef after having sweetbreads popcorn style foisted on me when he cooked at Adrienne.

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I agree braising is the best technique for sweet breads. To throw something at wilfrid i have to completely disagree with this soaking technique you were talking about. The most tradtitional way and in my mind the best way to soak them is in a three day process. First day soaked in milk, second day soaked in half milk and half water, third day soaked in just water for a little while. This cleans the sweet breads of the blood. It leaves them very white and clean. Im sure there are other ways to do sweetbread soaking. But i just find this one to be the best especially when poaching or braising.

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When I first read this thread I didn't quite know how to respond. I've eaten at Veritas a number of times (including on the evening the NY Times 3 star review came out) and I've had some very good meals there and some plain meals there. But what I can tell you, and I say this without making a value judgement, is that people who are serious wine collectors love Scott Bryan's food. To be honest, when eating at Veritas with them they usually like the food far more then I do (and I'm a pretty serious wine collector too.) I could never tell if they were biased because of the wine list, or he happens to make food that is well suited for their palates. Knowing wine collectors, and knowing how they have their palates calibrated, I concluded 75% of what drives their reaction to the food is that Scott has figured out some match to the way they see things. And the other 25% is a bias in favor of the place because of the wine list. But regardless of what percentage you apply, if you accept the premise that he has a skill in pleasing that type of palate, it certainly explains why anyone who doesn't fit the description would find the place overrated.

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  • 9 months later...

Veritas in NYC -- Recommended

On Wednesday night, a vendor I deal with pretty regularly treated me to dinner at Veritas in NYC.

Veritas is a great restaurant. Somewhat small (40-50 seats and a small bar), modern decor and tastefully appointed. The staff is very accommadating without being smothering. I hadn't yet checked into my hotel, and they took care of my bags for me without me even thinking about it.

Veritas offers only a prix fixe 3 course menu, which really is five if you count the amuse bouchee (large for this) and a course between the main course and the dessert. Nice menu choices and I could have eaten them all. More on that later. I had fun with the very extensive and wee organized wine list. I'd scanned the list on line, but they had already updated the list a few times since the one published on the site, o some things were gone and other new things were there....

I ended up selecting the 1999 Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa and the 2000 Kislter Cuvee Elizabeth Occidental Vineyard Pinot Noir as the wines of the evening. Both of these wines were excellent and paired well with the food we ordered.

I can't remember what the other guy had, but here's what I went with--

Course 1

This was the amuse bouchee, but I considered it big enough to call it a first course. It was marinated calimari with pimentos, olives and chive oil. Nice, light and with many layers of deliciousness in it.

Course 2

For me this was seared foie gras with rhubarb compote (I am quickly becoming a fan of rhubarb), hazelnuts (I think lightly roasted) and a black pepper gastrique. This dish was great. I might have chosen the sweetbreads for this course, but it has an artichoke mash or something with it and I knew it'd ruin whatever wine I was having so I avoded it.

Course 3

Duck breast over melted shallots & some potato, sprinkled with foie gras cubes and embellished with capers and a nice reduction sauce (I forgot to write it down, but it was so good I asked for some more of the tuscan bread (one of three varities they offered, the other two being a rosemary and something bread (which I did not try) and a fennel and raisin bread which was wonderful) to sop it all up with. This course was perfect with the Kistler. As in omigod good.

Course 4

This I expected to be a cheese course, but it was really a pre-dessert course. It was Almond Panna Cotta sandwiching a raspberry compote swirl in the vertical glass topped with candied lemon zest and a citrus sauce. Yum

Course 5

This was the 'official' dessert course. I was sorely tempted to get the Orange Cake with orange-buttermilk panna cotta, but it also included some chocolate where the panna cotta was inserted in to. So I decided to go with what my gut was telling me all along and I ordered the one special dessert of the day, which was a flight, a trio of creme brulees -- caramel (good), vanilla (even better) and cinnamon (omigod that was amazing). Finished this off with some pretty good coffee.

This was a great dinner, my only regret is that Mrs. TJ was not with me to experience it.

I would definitely recommend going to Veritas while in NYC, on somebody else's nickel or your own. You will be pleased with the atmosphere (it never got noisy, even as the dining room got full), the service is great, the food is wonderful and the winelist is very extensive (it should also be noted that they have a very good 'Market' wine list (ie cheaper generally) in the front part of the main wine list).

If anyone is interested, follow the following link to VinoCellar, where you can see the original post where I had embedded TN links on the wines.

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I was having lunch at the bar today at Jean-Georges (Nougatine) and struck up a conversation with the lady sitting next to me. It seems she was the pastry chef at Veritas up until last year, and now is at a fairly new Italian restaurant located in Tudor City. I didn't write down the name and now have forgotten. Anyone know what this place is or tried it?

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  • 6 months later...

Haven't been to Veritas in quite a while, and tonight I dropped by for an impromptu meal at the bar.

The food was spectacular. My date and I tried the following items:

"Juniper crusted venison with braised red cabbage, chestnuts and green peppercorn armagnac jus" - Two generous pieces of venison loin, cooked to absolute perfection, just a tad past rare. The jus had just enough spice and richness to complement the gaminess of the venison without overpowering it. A wonderful winter dish, earthy and satisfying.

"Tender braised short ribs with parsnip puree, porcini mushrooms, glazed carrots and barolo" - the short ribs were also cooked to perfection. Tender and flavorful, without the excess of fat that often mars this dish at many restaurants. The meat was served over a brunoise of carrots, parsnip puree and porcinis, accompanied by a rich beef reduction that was slightly sweet and tangy.

The short rib dish was a bit more complex in terms of flavor and texture, but I thought both were outstanding. The venison was a better match for the Bordeaux we drank, as the slight sweetness of the short ribs sauce detracted a bit from the wine.

Speaking of wine, we had a half bottle of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 1996. A stunning wine that showed well, but could really use a few more years for optimal drinking (and I suspect it will last for at least another 20). What a treat to find this wine in a half bottle, from a great vintage, and at a much lower markup (just shy of double the current retail value) than is usually the practice in NYC.

For dessert we tried a chocolate souffle and a baba au rhum. The "souffle" was actually a molten chocolate cake. Excellent but not all that different from the standard issue Valrhona chocolate cakes offered by nearly every high end NYC restaurant these days. The baba was more interesting. It was served slightly warm, accompanied by a nice and tart apple sorbet, vanilla bean whipped cream, and by a sort of compote/brunoise of apples and some small berries (lingonberries maybe?). A nice inventive twist on a classic dessert. Both desserts were delicious, and I could have easily scarfed down another serving of each!

Overall, the meal was as enjoyable as any I've had in the past year in NYC. Not as inventive as Mix, not as ambitious as Cafe Boulud, but every bit as good in its own right. Veritas is the sort of place I would gladly visit several times a week if my budget allowed. Add to this exceptional food the value/selection of wine, the courteous and low key service, and the highly knowledgeable sommelier's expert advice, and I'd say Veritas holds its own among the upper tier of NYC restaurants. I've never had a meal there that didn't leave me with a giant smile on my face, and the feeling my dollars were well spent.

Edited by Felonius (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...

Another great meal at Veritas last night. The lobster salad with english peas has returned to the menu, and it was every bit as good as I remember it being two years ago. I love this dish, and think it's one of the best lobster preparations I've ever had. Simple, light and refreshing - allowing the full flavor of the perfectly cooked lobster to hold its own.

I had the short ribs again. Couldn't resist as they are fantastic.

Some great wines by the glass, including a super Weissburgunder Pinot Blanc by the glass ($8) from Austria, that was a nice complement to the lobster. We also tried a glass of Calera Pinot Noir ($8), one of my favorite inexpensive California Pinots. These were followed by a half bottle of Bertagna Vougeot "Clos de la Perriere" 1er Cru 1999, Burgundy ($50). This was a lovely and elegant pinot noir, more complex and sophisticated than the Calera, and a bargain considering a full bottle of this wine would usualy fetch $150-200 on most NYC wine lists. For dessert we tried a 1986 Sauternes and a more forward Alsatian (pinot gris?) late harvest from Trimbach. Both were excellent, though I thought the Trimbach was the better of the two.

Service was perfect - friendly, low key and attentive. The bartender allowed us to taste several wines before making our decisions by the glass.

I can't recommend this place highly enough. If you're not up for a huge meal, I recommend just sitting at the bar and ordering a few things a la carte. In my opinion, it's the perfect place to have superb food and wine without the attitude or hoopla of other restaurants in this league in NYC.

Edited by Felonius (log)
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Just got a 5:30 reservation for Thursday for in between the Big East Basketball games. Prix Fixe was offered. Looking forward to it.

The thing that got me was Chef Bourdain on Cook's Tour this week with Chef Bryan. Told my girlfriend I was going and she was jealous as she's been before. Guess I'll have to take her at the end of March.

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By the way, Tony still comes in and hangs out at the bar, then Scott and he go out and go drinking.

Evidently, Scott ususally comes in at about 2 in the afternoon -- but on the days after he goes out with Tony, he comes in around 5 :raz:

Edited by agbaber (log)

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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By the way, Tony still comes in and hangs out at the bar, then Scott and he go out and go drinking.

I'd come back to Veritas after the games if it meant I could tell war stories with those guys.

Could tell the story of the guy this past Monday, eating at the bar whose Veal Chop was undercooked and he brought it back to the kitchen himself. I was 6 steps away and couldn't stop him. He didn't know there's two steps leading to the kitchen. It was the end of the night and my chef was coming out to the bar with the order for the next day and caught him flopping down the steps with dish in hand.

End of story will be finished Friday afternoon when I sober up after tomorrow's festivities.

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Felonius, I couldn't agree with you more. Tommy, get your ass moving and get your wife here. What a fabulous dining experience. We walk in at 5:30 with reservations and of course ask if we can have the prie-fixe at the bar . At 1st the hostess says no but the bartender, Melissa says sure. She's a smart lady. The Rock orders a Syrah as I have a glass of the LP Rose Non-Vintage champagne. Perfectly chilled, a good start to clean the palate. Also a bottle of still water is ordered.

As we are looking over the menu, Melissa tells us we're better off ordering off the menu instead of ala carte. I'm somewhat suspicious but Melissa steers us right. As we're all talking I mention how I prefer appetizers over entrees and she suggest we order 4 apps and split a main course. Done. By now, I think she knows we have som ething to do with the restaurant business and I tell he so. I also say why we're there, I saw Scott Bryan on Cook's Tour and also tread about him in A.B.'s book.

1st set of apps are The Hamachi tartate ($18) and Foie Gras($18).Byy now I'm drinking a glass of Newton unfiletered Chard and The Rock is nursing The Syrah. The Hamachi is very good, lightly dressed with I chili's and shiso, topped with avacado & layered over cucumber. The Foie Gras is served with rhubabrb, hazelnuts and black pepper. Now, Melissa gives us a generous taste of a 79 Madiera which was the perfect combo with the Foie Gras.

2nd set. Rabbit Fricassee with wild mushrooms, tomato, sage & ricotta gnocci. A simple dish preformed without being all over the place. The rabbit braised to perfection, the gnocci, percectly cooked and the sauce I was tempted to dip. We also had the sweetbreads with lardons, green apple and blak truffle. With this we were on to The Paul Hobbs Cab '00 ($14). Great wine for the price. At this point Scott comes out of the kitcen and introduces himself. The same affable guy that AB talks about with admiration, we talk about business, customer trends, he asks about the food and we're gushing now. Very nice guy.

Now, the main course, the short ribs. Should have gotten my own instead of sharing. No bone, just fork-tender meat with root vegetables, porcini mushrooms and barolo wine. A delicious sweet sauce with different layers. Just great, I'm coming back for this dish again. Scott comes back out again as I sense they're between seatings. We talk a little about the restaurant economy in NYC compared to Jersey, he gets my business card, never know I just might need a job someday. :cool: We've been here two and half hours now. We were supposed to be back at The Garden at 7. Oh well.

Next espresso. The Rock has a 30 Yr Tawny port and I have a 71' Armanac. Scott must have been born in 1971. :hmmm: Good buzz now as I've had a few of those Cabs and it's on our way back to The Garden. As least we caught the 2nd half. Can't wait to get back here and after Sue found about about my meal it looks like I'll be back Friday the 26th. Excellent.

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